2013 MEEA Award

Sense of Wonder Award 2013, MEEA
Nomination for Adrianne Wallace, Merry Hearts Play Circle

All educators know that habits and experiences in early childhood have a profound and lasting impact on the psyche of children. The years before kindergarten are those of the fastest growth, where children learn the fundamentals of interacting with others and knowing themselves. They learn the basic patterns of the world around them and how to respond. The sense of “wonder and awe” of young children is admired by all, but for them this play and exploration is the way they experience the world. If one believes that connection with nature is important, then it is a given that this learning/living of young children is done best in the outdoors.

Merry Hearts Play Circle, the creation and passion of Adrianne Wallace, is a space for young children to be who and what they are, interacting with the world on their own terms. Educators of this age set have a particularly unique task, and giving children the opportunity to grow and learn in the outdoors, some would say, is an even greater challenge. But for Adrianne, this type of play is crucial, and thus a priority. Whether it involves full snow gear for six squirming toddlers, a car full of carseats full of mud, or naps in the sunshine on a spring day, for the children of Merry Hearts playing outdoors is just what you do. Even  indoor activities are fully integrated with this outdoor play, weaving in music, food, and craft-making that reflect the outdoor experience. Would that we were all so lucky to have had a childhood like that of these children. Would that we would all be so lucky as to have a life so formed.
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